Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Great Blue Herons

I mentioned that I saw my first Great Blue Heron of the year on Friday. Usually one or two wander in during the winter--in fact, there was one during the Christmas Bird Count, but none since the New Year.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Great Blue Heron, Central Park
Handsome heron

A very beautiful bird. Perhaps my memory plays me false, but I don't think we get many in such sharp breeding plumage, black-browed and beplumed.

Speaking of Great Blue Herons...

We went to the New-York Historical Society on Sunday to see the exhibit of Audubon watercolors, "Audubon’s Aviary: Parts Unknown". This is the second of three exhibits of the Society's collection of the original Audubon paintings for Birds of America; it concentrates on waterbirds, and the cover image is, of course, the Great Blue Heron.

Audubon's Great Blue Heron

If you're in New York between now and May 26, you should go see it. When you do, take a good long look at the Magnificent Frigatebird from several distances, and extremely close-up from various angles. A remarkable graphic composition from afar, and stunning, glitteringly detailed pencil-work at extreme close-up.


  1. I wonder what their activity patterns are like in our neck of the woods.

    I recall the one time i saw one chilling out on my neighbor's roof. Gorgeous birds.

  2. You can get quite a lot of data from Cornell's ebird.org. Under "Explore Data", you can get a map of sightings of a species in a specified period of time, or a line chart of the species frequency and abundance by date.

    Here, if it works, is a graph of Great Blue Heron in California since 2001.

    Lots of good stuff there,